United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
RANDY H. PARRISH, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff, Randy H. Parrish, brought this action to obtain judicial review of a final decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of Social Security, denying an award of Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). (Docket Entry 1.) The Court has before it the certified administrative record (cited herein as "Tr. ___") and the parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docket Entries 10, 14). For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.
Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI, alleging a disability onset date of October 1, 2006. (Tr. 122-29.) Upon denial of the applications initially (Tr. 63-75) and on reconsideration (Tr. 79-88), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") (Tr. 90). Plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert ("VE") appeared at the hearing. (Tr. 23-54.) The ALJ ruled Plaintiff not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 7-22.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, thereby making the ALJ's determination the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review. (Tr. 1-3.)
In rendering that disability ruling, the ALJ made the following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. [Plaintiff] meets the insured status requirements of the... Act through December 31, 2011.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2006, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, history of a liver transplant, hepatitis C, carpal tunnel syndrome and blindness in the right eye (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. [Plaintiff] does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.925 and 416.926).
5.... [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with limitations... [of] no balancing or climbing, ... [no] work around heights or around dangerous machinery, due to vision restrictions... [and only] frequent use of his hands for fingering and handling due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Given that residual functional capacity ("RFC") and the VE's testimony, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could not return to his past relevant work, but that a significant number of jobs existed in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 16-18.) Accordingly, the ALJ decided that Plaintiff had not suffered a "disability, " under ...